One great resource available from the U.S. National Archives is the World War II Enlistment Records. These records have been transcribed and made available on the National Archives web site. These records are especially valuable as many of the personnel papers of these soldiers and sailors were later destroyed in a fire.
The National Archives scanned War Department microfilmed punch cards on enlistments to support the reconstruction of the military personnel records at its National Personnel Records Center…The cards were eventually microfilmed for long-term preservation.
Nine million records were later transcribed manually by humans who sat and read the microfilms and transcribed the information onto keyboards. Due to the condition of the microfilms, approximately 1.5 million records could not be scanned. Scanning problems when the microfilms were created also contributed to the errors. Despite these challenges, information about a majority of sixteen million World War II servicemen and women is available via the web site…
The U.S. National Archives says spot checks show that approximately 35% of these records have an error. However, only 4.7% of the sample had an error in the name column, and only 1.3% had errors in the serial number column. Therefore, the National Archives made the determination that a lot of valuable information is available in this database, even with the errors. The database was released and placed online…
Each record provides the enlistee’s serial number and name, state, and county of residence, place of enlistment, date of enlistment, grade, branch, term of enlistment, place of birth, year of birth, citizenship, race, education, civilian occupation, marital status, and component…
This online database also contains information on more than 130,000 women who enlisted in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps.
The Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File can provide much information of interest to genealogists. It is especially useful for date and place of birth, even though it does not show parents’ names. At least you will find out where to look for a birth record.
The Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File is available free of charge as one of the databases within the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration’s "Access to Archival Databases" (AAD) at http://www.archives.gov/aad.
from Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter
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